A health care manager has a big impact through his role in the hospital by adjusting the unit’s phone triage and redefines the roles of paramedics, ensuring nurses get the time they need for patients, ensuring people who come in contact speak to a human rather than an automated system and increasing overall patient satisfaction.
This is just an example of how a healthcare manager can harness strong communication skills and decision-making capabilities to improve how a hospital operates.
In general, hospital healthcare managers have many responsibilities, including planning, directing, and coordinating other practitioners, departments, and groups.
They work in a variety of hospital settings, from human resources to specialized clinical areas. They must collaborate across disciplines, manage the organization’s budget and finances, and lead talent development.
Healthcare managers deal with business operations as well as the needs of the medical team. The scope of these responsibilities can change depending on the level of the manager, including levels:
- Supervisors who monitor the day-to-day activities of employee teams.
- Department managers who oversee entire departments.
- Directors who monitor system-wide activities and functions.
- Executives who oversee an entire hospital or group of hospitals.
All hospital health care managers work with physicians, make policy decisions, oversee patient care, budgeting and accounting, and lead marketing efforts to ensure their organizations run smoothly.
Departmental Coordination & Innovation
Managers can improve health care delivery by operating hospitals that provide reliable and adaptable services. They should understand and direct the following forces that impact innovation:
- Multiple stakeholders: The manager’s goal is to coordinate a diverse group of stakeholders and direct them to focus on a common goal. Employees such as doctors, insurance companies, technology distributors, patient advocates, etc., all have personal interests in hospital policy & operations.
- Funding flow: Funding innovation is important, and managers direct the flow of funds from third-party investors, long-term investors, insurance companies, and other sources into the appropriate areas.
- Constantly-Changing Policy: Policy impacting innovation is in flux with new federal regulations requiring strict compliance. Managers must not only know about policy updates, but they must also communicate it to employees and implement it in the hospital.
- New technology: Technological innovation requires managers to exercise solid timing, given that hospital infrastructure must adapt to new technologies. As well, technologies must be adopted before any competitive advantage is lost.
- Empowered patients: Patients invest financially and intellectually in their own health care, empowered by the knowledge they can get from the internet regarding their particular circumstances. Innovative managers make it a point to address empowered patient concerns, realizing that savvy patients are not satisfied with simply taking a doctor’s word at face value if it conflicts with their existing knowledge.
- Accountability impacts innovation as managers have to demonstrate effectiveness, safety and other organizational principles of accrediting organizations.
A healthcare manager may lead innovation in hospital processes and see tangible results in patient care. For example, lower mortality rates among emergency patients may indicate managerial innovation.
Facilitating teamwork and collaboration are very important to running a successful hospital. Managers can influence innovative teamwork by:
- Preparing, summarizing and coordinating information for employee consumption.
- Serve as a mediator between goals, strategies and daily activities.
- Encouraging innovative practical methods and approaches.
Healthcare managers monitor team initiatives, especially frontline employees. These teams collaborate to solve patient and workflow issues. Thus, managers fill in the informational gaps that ensure that innovation reaches the right outlets.
Improving Health Care Via Lean Management
In lean management strategies, big gains may come from small innovations. For example, one hospital reduced the time in the recovery room by just 28 minutes by making it easier to access the pager number. Lean management may also lead to results like:
- Happier employees with fewer routine issues that take time to resolve.
- Patients have greater access to care due to shorter waiting times.
- Reduce layoffs because making operations more efficient saves money.
- Costly events that are not covered by insurance that should never occur, including bedsores, are eliminated with efficiency.
- The extent to which existing resources, such as equipment and space, are used increases the cost of construction and expansion that is costly, consumptive, and ultimately unnecessary.
- Reducing wastage of resources, time and money, enabling hospitals to make profits.
Eliminating waste of all kinds is at the heart of the Lean management approach. Healthcare managers are needed to facilitate the implementation of these previous innovative approaches.
Healthcare managers of all levels and disciplines are critical to ensuring that the hospital functions in a competitive, efficient, profitable and satisfactory manner.
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